To attract young riders, women—and perhaps some midlife-crisis types—BMW and other moto-makers have rolled out affordable, lightweight, and exciting new bikes at a rapid pace. If you will, the G310GS is thus like a giraffe calf compared to its proud mama, the R1200GS. Weighing a manageable 374 pounds wet, this small adventure bike gets its push from a 313cc DOHC single; although buzzy at low revs, it offers a broad powerband with an energetic hit at high rpm. Participating in a growing trend, the engine features a rearward-canted cylinder and a rear-facing exhaust that help centralize mass for improved handling.
This newfound agility is accompanied by comfortable upright seating, simple but effective LCD instrumentation, and 71-mpg claimed fuel economy. All combine to give the G310GS a practical, down-to-earth demeanor. As far as off-road adventuring goes, though, the littlest GS leaves a bit to be desired, as its 7.1-inch-travel inverted fork and shock are minimally adjustable, the tires are street-oriented, and the ABS-equipped brakes lack feel. But still, a diminutive BMW ADV thumper? Heck, yeah!
Likes: Great handling, low weight and cost (for a BMW), super versatile
Dislikes: Low-rpm vibration, flaccid suspension and brakes, street-oriented tires
Verdict: A beginner's bike that's entertaining enough for experts